Discarding Our Identity

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Jewish Self Hatred & Self Destruction


To laugh at oneself can be a healing experience.  When it is a constant, exaggerated or directed at our own kin, our own actions, and our own religion, it can cause harm.  The Jewish comedians of the past were skilled in this trait and utilized it when and where there was an opportune moment.  The Nazis used these outpourings to ridicule, to label, and to destroy the Jewish people. We have become the scapegoats, the out group, the evil ones to persecute and to avoid.  We have been  labeled with untruths.  Some examples cited:  We are uncaring, stingy and unclean.  The facts are otherwise.  We are the biggest contributors to humanity,  to charitable causes.  We give to the poor and deprived more than any other religious denomination; we overindulge our children as well creating unrealistic expectations.  We are different than other people as well by our unique food dictums.  If we are “kosher” we do not eat pork and have not done so long before it was known that pig meat was “unclean” and meat had to be treated in a particular fashion in order to be safe for consumption.  The kosher laws assist in keeping food sanitary and people healthy, although there are  a number of other purposes.  One joke is of a poor beggar who approaches a Jewish woman, telling her : “I have not eaten in three days!” Her automatic response:  “Then force yourself!”  The truth is that we overeat and stuff our family and our guests with too much food.  We feed our “servants” (employees, if we have them) and our children before we partake ourselves.  Another myth is that  Jews default on their debts: The doctor's office calls Mrs. Cohen:  “Mrs. Cohen, your check came back.  Mrs. Cohen’s retort:  “So did my arthritis.”  It is extremely rare that a Jewish person defaults on what she owes.  A Jewish swindler / criminal is an extremely rare entity in the community.

The joke is that Jews view that the fetus is not viable until it graduates from medical school.  Yes, we are a people who want our offspring to have as much education as possible, since that road of life makes us worthwhile and able to earn a living and find acceptance.  We do not fight with guns or engage in criminal activities, but use our brains. Like “Fiddler on the Roof,” we have to fight with what we have and for us it begins with intellect and education. Every human person is valuable and we have that strong conviction that each soul is created in the image of G’d.  Our crime rate is the lowest in the USA, and the rare deviant such as Madoff is an anomaly among our brethren.

Drinking jokes cannot be made about Jews.  A gentile comes before a judge.  The judge says: “You have been brought here for drinking.”  The drunk says:  “Okay, let’s get  started.”  The accompanying joke is: “Why do Jewish mothers not drink?  Alcohol interferes with their suffering!” The truth is that Jewish children are able to take a sip of wine on Friday night to celebrate the beginning of the Sabbath and alcohol does not hold charm, secrecy or adventure for them.  Again, historically we have learned that we have to be aware and sober to deal in our rational mind with our surroundings, our fellow man, or our enemies.

We are a very minute number in the world’s population.  As with so many minorities, we have taken on our enemies' opinions, caricatures of ourselves as well as those of our people, and almost believe what our antagonists have conjured up.  We were once painted as cowards, unable to defend ourselves from the enemy.  The brave people of Israel have conquered that fallacy.  The Jewish people of that land have very bravely defended themselves against  all the violent Arabs that have surrounded them, that have thrown missiles and rocks at them, that have killed innocent civilians in their homes, destroyed their property, their lives and their tiny helpless children.  The Jewish people have exhibited their bravery, their strength.  The Warsaw Ghetto and the folks that were present at the time of the holocaust fought back.  They exhibited so much courage as the Nazis and Poles destroyed them.  They knew that they were overwhelmed and would die, but they chose to die defending themselves instead of being slaughtered like herds of pathetically  helpless sheep.

In our fear of being unaccepted outsiders, we have discarded our religion and frequently our own unique identity.  We have taken on our enemies' opinion, prejudices, propaganda.  We have intermarried often to the point of extinction.  We have taken on the fable that we killed the “the son of G’d.” 

Let those of us who remain on this earth be strong, realistic, believe in ourselves, our religion and our very being.  Let us be the people of strength and of courage.  Let us truly be the chosen people, the people of strength, of courage, of righteousness, of stability, of leaders, an example for our children and the children of the world!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

Home ] Up ]